Aug 30
2018

In a cast of just four, plus a four-piece backing group, take the audience on a fast journey through the decade, encouraging, nay demanding, audience participation. At leat three of the cast were probably not born when Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard, The Beverley Sisters et al were making their names. About the fourth, joint creator of the show and BLAG's leading light Richard Beaumont, I'm not sure. "We did a tremendous amount of research into the 50's," said his wife and co-creator Lynn, perhaps trying to persuade me after the show that he, too, was not around then. Their research has paid off handsomely. This was a fun show, revue-style, that took the audience by the hand through, for instance, Bud Flanagan's search for a replacement for the sick Chesney Allen before a nationwide tour, through the era of 3-D movies complete with those annoying glasses, a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, and one of the hilarious high-spots, Bill and Ben with Weed.

Skiffle, hand-jiving, the Archer's theme tune - all required audience participation, and they got it. Richard Beaumont, who claims to have been born in a trunk, as the old showbusiness adage would hace it, and not let out until he was four, was superb. His pedigree in television, films and on the professional stage, shows through in everything he tackles - superb timing, wonderful throw-away lines, he has them all. Jean Warner is another master at the art of good timing and, together with Ros Swallow and John Holland, all three were perfect foils for their professional master. Throughout there was music from Alice & The Slackers, namely a four-piece led by pianist Susana Castellot, and the whole was brought together by Richard's wife Lynn, the director. Return to the Forgotten Decade continues until tomorrow night. Catch it if you can - for just a fiver it is good value for money.

Tony White